Well, I turn 26 on Sunday.
I’m excited. I’m really, truly, excited.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I still want to go.
I’ve also been thinking about the lessons I’ve learned along the way — and I wanted to share with you what I consider to be the biggest insight of my 20’s.
No more “Zero Days”.
A “Zero Day” is a day where you do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING towards your goal.
It could be for a bunch of reasons. Some of them might be excuses that you TELL yourself are “legitimate”:
I had to work late.
I haven’t decided on _____ or _____ yet.
I’m really tired today. I’ll start tomorrow.
Sometimes the self-sabotage is more blatantly egregious — like spending all day binging on Netflix, or laying in bed all weekend “re-charging” from work.
The problem is, a combination of “legitimate” and bogus reasons can add up to weeks at a time of us not working on our craft, or starting our business, or learning that new language.
Weeks at a time that gradually make us less and less motivated — and when we try to start the pursuit again, we’re discouraged because we haven’t progressed.
Stop that. It ends today.
Over the last 5 years especially, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that just doing SOMETHING…ANYTHING….is the real key to success.
Do it half-ass if you have to when you’re getting started.
Then, do it in tiny bits every single day. And keep track of it!
Want to start a blog? You don’t need to write a new post every day.
Start with a sentence every single day.
Want to learn a new language? Don’t try to force-feed yourself a vocabulary book for 4 hours one day to make up for not studying as some weird quasi-masochistic punishment.
Learn two new words a day.
Shit, learn one. And say it out loud to someone.
The beauty about little steps is that you typically can’t just take one step. It goes against your own psychology. You’ll end up doing MORE by accident.
Ever read the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”?
God, such a good book. Read it to your future kids. Err…present kids, some of ya’s!
The plot is simple: If you give a mouse a cookie, as soon as he gets just ONE taste, he’s going to want everything to go with it.
And the same is true for YOU.
If you take little “bites” at your goal, it will be IMPOSSIBLE for you to stop.
You can’t JUST play guitar for 5 minutes.
You can’t JUST learn one vocabulary word.
Writing JUST one sentence feels ridiculous.
(Trust me, I know. This post is the result of my attempt to write just ONE.)
When you start yourself down the path, even with a TINY action, you will build momentum.
But you have to do something every…single…day.
No more “Zero Days”.
That’s my biggest takeaway at 26.